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braves-in-the-bottom-half-of-payroll | January | 2008 Articles

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Braves in the bottom half of payroll

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Well, the final 2007 payrolls are in, and it turns out the Braves are in the bottom half, 16th out of 30 teams. In fact, we were just 2 spots ahead of Oakland and just one spot ahead of Texas, the team that traded us a massive chunk of its salary in Mark Teixeira. (Of course, thanks to the screwy economics of baseball, there's a $14 million gap between the 17th- and 18th-place teams, the biggest gap on the board other than that between New York and Boston and everyone else.) Here's the list:
1 New York Yankees $218,311,394
2 Boston 155,402,595
3 Los Angeles Dodgers 125,581,316
4 New York Mets 120,927,727
5 Chicago Cubs 115,943,318
6 Seattle 114,367,309
7 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 111,038,577
8 Philadelphia 101,823,122
9 San Francisco 101,539,796
10 Chicago White Sox 100,189,832
11 St. Louis 99,329,875
12 Detroit 98,519,780
13 Houston 97,213,020
14 Baltimore 95,269,977
15 Toronto 95,069,351
16 Atlanta 92,634,468
17 Texas 78,923,435
18 Oakland 78,482,125
19 Cincinnati 73,072,635
20 Milwaukee 72,751,641
21 Minnesota 71,938,505
22 Cleveland 71,887,236
23 Arizona 70,448,367
24 San Diego 67,490,967
25 Kansas City 62,264,855
26 Colorado 61,348,681
27 Pittsburgh 51,360,907
28 Washington 43,254,278
29 Florida 33,072,472
30 Tampa Bay 31,817,020
Total 2,711,274,581
Average 90,375,819
What's this tell us? Well, first, our payroll increased by almost 10% from the start of the year.Only four years ago, Time Warner forced the Braves to cut payroll from $95 million to $80 million, and by the end of 2007 we made it all the way back to $95. That suggests we don't have a lot of wiggle room for another in-season trade, or financial flexibility of any sort. Back when we were owned by a man who didn't mind losing tens of millions of dollars a year, we were in the top tier of all of baseball in payroll, and now we're struggling to be in the middle of the pack, below the median and only a couple of million dollars above the average. So what do you make of this?

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